The Spectator-Induced Electromagnetic Effect on Meson Production in Nucleus-Nucleus Collisions at SPS Energies
H. Niewodniczanski Institute of Nuclear Physics, Polish Academy of Sciences, Cracow, Poland
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The electromagnetic interaction between the spectator system and the charged mesons produced in the course of the high energy heavy ion collision was studied experimentally and theoretically in earlier works [1,2]. This effect was found to result in very large distortions of the final state spectra of the produced mesons  and to bring new information on the space-time evolution of the non-perturbative meson production process . In this paper a more extended analysis of this effect will be presented, including a comparative study between charged meson spectra produced in Pb+Pb collisions as well as collisions of Pb ions with smaller nuclei. The experimental results will be compared with Monte Carlo simulations, giving a fair overall understanding of the interplay between the strong and the electromagnetic interaction in the heavy ion collision. A universal behaviour of charged meson spectra emerges from the above comparative study. This gives a unique chance of using the spectator charge as a tool to study the space-time evolution of the high energy nucleus-nucleus reaction.
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